To reduce the hassles of people who shop for retirement products over the phone, Just Retirement has signed an agreement with Openwork to offer a new over-the-phone underwriting service.
The service will be run by a team of 50 medical professional who will conduct short interviews over the telephone with customers and will go live today.
The medical team updates Just Retirement’s underwriting system after asking a series of question over the phone.
“This takes away all the aggravation from the IFA, who might not want to spend 30 minutes interviewing the customer and it gives them comprehensive information so they can search the market”, said external affairs director Steve Lowe of Just Retirement.
“Rather than just whingeing that the open market option is not working, we have put our money where our mouth is to provide a solution to make it easier. If we can prove this works with Openwork, we can start rolling this out across other distributors, hopefully with other product providers joining in”, he added.
However, not everybody shared his optimism.
“Telephone underwriting has not worked in the life insurance market, so it is difficult to see why it might work in the annuity market. Essentially, it is adding a stage to the process and, with all those medical professionals, it is a very expensive stage”, said Danny Cox of Hargreaves Lansdown.